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Men’s Basketball: Dominant Michigan State snaps Northwestern’s road winning streak

Forwards+Drew+Crawford+and+Sanjay+Lumpkin+battle+Michigan+State%E2%80%99s+Adreian+Payne+for+possession.+Payne%2C+who+lead+his+team+with+20+points+and+14+rebounds%2C+controlled+the+paint+against+Northwestern%2C+leading+the+Spartans+to+an+85-70+victory.+
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Men’s Basketball: Dominant Michigan State snaps Northwestern’s road winning streak

Forwards Drew Crawford and Sanjay Lumpkin battle Michigan State’s Adreian Payne for possession. Payne, who lead his team with 20 points and 14 rebounds, controlled the paint against Northwestern, leading the Spartans to an 85-70 victory.

Forwards Drew Crawford and Sanjay Lumpkin battle Michigan State’s Adreian Payne for possession. Payne, who lead his team with 20 points and 14 rebounds, controlled the paint against Northwestern, leading the Spartans to an 85-70 victory.

Source: Julia Nagy/The State News

Forwards Drew Crawford and Sanjay Lumpkin battle Michigan State’s Adreian Payne for possession. Payne, who lead his team with 20 points and 14 rebounds, controlled the paint against Northwestern, leading the Spartans to an 85-70 victory.

Source: Julia Nagy/The State News

Source: Julia Nagy/The State News

Forwards Drew Crawford and Sanjay Lumpkin battle Michigan State’s Adreian Payne for possession. Payne, who lead his team with 20 points and 14 rebounds, controlled the paint against Northwestern, leading the Spartans to an 85-70 victory.

Alex Putterman, Assistant Sports Editor

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It wasn’t hard to see that one coming.

Northwestern (12-13, 5-7 Big Ten) fell 85-70 to No. 9 Michigan State (21-4, 10-2) in East Lansing, Mich.

“Tonight I just thought they played a lot better than we did,” coach Chris Collins told WGN Radio. “They’re a well-oiled machine, and it’s a great learning experience for us about the level we need to get to to win.”

The loss was NU’s second in a row and snapped a three-game road winning streak. It was the first time since Jan. 9 that the team had allowed more than 80 points.

Pace was a major story throughout the night.

The typically slow Wildcats pushed the ball in the first half and scored at a better rate than they have during Big Ten play. With 9:15 to play before halftime, NU had 22 points and trailed by just 1.

But the Cats, who usually attempt to slow the game down and keep the final tally in the 40s or 50s, were unable to keep up. The Spartans scored 8 straight points to take a 31-22 lead, and the game was never close again. Michigan State led by 9 at halftime and by as many as 19 in the second half to cruise to a 15-point win.

“We knew they were going to try to push the ball and we didn’t want to get in an up-and-down game with them, but they do a good job imposing their will on you,” Collins said to WGN. “They’re the best team we’ve played.”

Michigan State forward Adreian Payne, who missed the team’s first game against the Cats last month, dominated the interior with 20 points and 14 rebounds, four of them on the offensive end.

The Spartans as a team grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, resulting in 18 second-chance points to the Cats’ 6. That, along with Michigan State’s 52.4 percent clip from behind the arc, helped separate the teams, who shot relatively comparable percentages from the field.

Starting guards Denzel Valentine, Gary Harris and Travis Trice combined for 41 points and 15 assists for the Spartans.

Michigan State was without usual starting point guard Keith Appling, who missed his third straight game with a wrist injury and also guard/forward Branden Dawson, who has not played since Jan. 21.

After the game, NU’s players were upset with the team’s defense.

“I don’t think we played as well defensively (as they had),” junior guard JerShon Cobb said. “It was a tough place to play. It was very loud, we weren’t communicating well and they made us play.”

Sophomore guard Tre Demps called the Spartans’ up-and-down attack “like no other” but said their talent was no excuse for the high-scoring result.

“They’re great players, but at the same time you’ve got to give great players resistance,” he said. “They can’t feel like they can get anything they want. Early in the game, if they get great opportunities and see the ball go in, they’re going to keep attacking.”

Cobb dominated the early going for NU, scoring all of his 22 points in the game’s first 25 minutes. The junior guard shot 7-of-14 on the game and added seven rebounds.

Senior forward Drew Crawford came on strong in the second half and finished with 18 points. His final bucket, late in the second half, pushed him past Evan Eschmeyer into third place on the all-time NU scoring list.

Overall, Cobb, Crawford and Demps — who also scored 18 — totaled 58 of the Cats’ 70 points.

NU gets only two days off before hosting Minnesota on Sunday. The Cats beat the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis on Feb. 1, their fourth victory in five games and the climax of the team’s Big Ten surge.

Email: asputt@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @AlexPutt02

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About the Writer
Alex Putterman, Web Editor

Alex is a Medill senior studying journalism. He has written for The Daily’s sports desk since his first quarter at NU. His past positions at The Daily...